If your dog is struggling with joint pain, you might be searching for some way to help them. Seeing them hobble around and struggle going upstairs can be heartbreaking, especially if they used to be active and playful. Luckily, glucosamine for dogs is a great option that is showing promising results in pups with joint pain and stiffness.
What is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance that has been used to treat arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, and joint pain in humans for several decades.
More recently, veterinarians have begun using it in pets to help with similar pain issues.
Usually, glucosamine is found in joints and is used by the body to help repair tissues like cartilage. However, as a dog begins to age, they will begin to produce less glucosamine, leading to a decrease in the body’s healing abilities (i.e. weaker cartilage and joint health) and an increase in pain.
Over time, your dog may begin to develop a degenerative joint disease, known as osteoarthritis, as cartilage wears down, which is one of the primary reasons for their hobbling gait and excessive pain.
Glucosamine for dogs helps to slow the progression of joint deterioration by thickening joint fluid and supporting cartilage. While it can’t cure problems like arthritis and degenerative joint disease, it can definitely help your dog feel more comfortable and stay mobile longer.
Glucosamine Sulfate vs. Glucosamine Hydrochloride: What’s the difference?
While they both help diminish pain, inflammation and increase joint health, glucosamine HCl is a more undiluted solution of the glucosamine sulfate with less clinically proven studies for improvement in joint health.
They are both found in joint supplements, but glucosamine sulfate provides a more common and better type of substance for your dog rather than glucosamine HCl.
Note: If you decide to give your dog a glucosamine supplement, it will most likely be derived from certain shellfish, including shrimp, oysters, or crabs.
Does Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Dogs Really Help?
While there are many case studies that show evidence of glucosamine and chondroitin supplements helping joint pain in humans, a dog body is different just like other pets.
However, several studies have found that providing doses of glucosamine for dogs can help to revitalize their joint health.
In particular, a 2007 study reviewed 16 clinical trials and concluded that glucosamine supplements were on par with several prescription drugs in terms of comfort level for the patient.
Another study that looked at clinical trials conducted between the 1960s and 1999 found that the overall results of these trials indicated glucosamine has a positive result in patients.
Chondroitin for Dog: Cartilage Repair
In addition to glucosamine, another compound that can help your dog’s joint health is chondroitin.
Chondroitin sulfate is also found naturally in the body and works together with glucosamine to give your dog even more mobility and flexibility. Its job is to help cartilage retain moisture, and it’s often extracted from cow or shark cartilage for use in supplements.
Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM: Is there a difference between supplements?
We first have to ask: What is MSM?
MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a sulfur compound like chondroitin sulfate that helps the prevention of the erosion of the cartilage while working as a natural anti-inflammatory drug.
As a great addition glucosamine and chondroitin supplements, MSM helps in the decrease of inflammation within the joints, which is the key component of rheumatoid arthritis.
Like the joint supplement, Dasuquin with MSM, glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM are key ingredients when searching for a cure for your dog’s joint pain. Dasuquin with MSM also has an extra element called ASU, avocado soybean unsaponifiable, which too aids in joint health.
What are the Side Effects of Liquid Glucosamine for Dogs?
Luckily, liquid glucosamine for dogs or glucosamine in any other form doesn’t have many side effects for dogs. The biggest thing you will need to watch out for after giving your dog glucosamine is an allergic reaction to the supplement itself. Symptoms of an adverse reaction might include:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Problems sleeping
- Increased urination and thirst
- Trouble breathing
If your dog is experiencing any of these problems, be sure to bring them to the vet right away for an examination. The vet might be able to adjust their dosage or recommend a different brand of supplement that might cause fewer side effects.
What are the Benefits of Dog Joint Supplements?
Dog joint supplements, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, have a number of positive benefits for your dog’s health and their arthritis and joint pain. Overall, research seems to indicate that glucosamine:
- Helps to lubricate your dog’s joints for less painful movement
- Reduces inflammation in the joints
- Improves overall joint health for an increase in mobility
In particular, glucosamine is particularly useful for larger dogs with hip dysplasia, dogs suffering from spinal disc injuries, and dogs with osteoarthritis. Arthritis can present itself in any of your dog’s joints, including the knees, shoulders, elbows, and hips.
Because arthritis typically appears later in life, glucosamine chondroitin supplements are usually prescribed for middle-aged to older dogs when the owner starts noticing mobility issues. For example, you might notice that your dog is:
- Stiff-legged or limping in the morning
- Stiff-legged or limping during cold weather
- Having problems climbing stairs
- Having problems getting into or out of a car
Taking a joint supplement helps many dogs resume their normal activity levels, as they are no longer dealing with constant, chronic pain.
What is the Glucosamine Dosage for Dogs?
Determining how much glucosamine to give your dog can be tricky. However, the main factor is usually how much the dog weighs. Large dogs will need much more glucosamine than smaller dogs.
It’s best to ask a veterinarian to make sure you’re following the proper glucosamine dosage, but here are a few general guidelines to follow:
- Giant dogs that weigh over 90 pounds should get at least 1,500 mg a day.
- Large dogs that weigh between 45 to 90 pounds should get 1,000 mg a day.
- Medium dogs that weigh between 20 to 45 pounds should get 500 mg a day.
- Small dogs that weigh between 5 to 20 pounds a day should get 250 to 500 mg per day.
There are also several different delivery methods available for glucosamine.
The joint supplement can come as a pill, injection, powder, liquid, capsule or chewable tablet. Choose whichever version your dog likes and tolerates best, as they will all be effective at improving your dog’s joint health.
Some dog foods are even starting to include glucosamine, which is a great way to help your dog get a constant stream of it in their body if they don’t want to constantly take a chewable tablet or a glucosamine supplement pill.
Note: Since glucosamine supplementations are most likely be derived from certain shellfish, including shrimp, oysters, or crabs, it’s always good to check the label before administering any nutritional supplement just to make sure you don’t give your dog too much or too little.
What is the Best Glucosamine for Dogs?
There is an abundance of glucosamine for dogs on the market, which can make it extremely hard to decide which brand or type to buy.
Deciding on the best glucosamine for your dog will depend on a number of factors, including price, their willingness to take a dose or consume the supplement in dog food, and severity of the condition.
In particular, the best glucosamine for dogs includes ascorbic acid or manganese, which helps your dog digest and process the glucosamine more efficiently as well as the addition of chondroitin.
They might also include added flavors to improve taste, as well as vitamins and minerals for total body health. Being labeled as human-grade glucosamine also means that it might contain higher quality and more pure ingredients.
To make sure you’re getting the best deal, compare the cost per daily dosage across a number of different brands.
While you might be tempted to go with some of the most expensive supplements in the hope that it’s the best, that isn’t always the case. Some brands which are known for their good quality include Cosequin by Nutramax, Drs. Foster and Smith’s Joint Care, and Glycoflex.
By giving your dog glucosamine on a regular basis, you’ll be able to perceive a noticeable change in their behavior and mobility in just a few weeks.